Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "educational standards" ...

  • Stacked Up: Do Philly students have the books they need?

    Stacked Up employs data journalism to explore the hidden book crisis in Philadelphia schools. Most people would be surprised at the idea that a public school wouldn't have enough books. In Philadelphia, however, students and parents regularly complain of textbook shortages. A 10th grader at Parkway West High School told me that students often have to share books in class and can't take them home to do homework. Many books are in poor condition: "There were pictures of testicles drawn on every page," she said of one of her ninth-grade books. Access to books is particularly critical because a school today is labeled a success or failure based on students’ performance on high-stakes tests. The tests are highly specific and are aligned with state educational standards. The tests are also aligned with the textbooks sold by the 4 educational publishers that dominate the educational publishing market—the same publishers who have a hand in designing and grading the standardized tests. It therefore stands to reason that if students don’t have the right textbooks, they won’t be able to do well on the tests even if they want to.
  • Eligibility for Sale

    An investigation by ESPN revealed how athletes in the revenue-producing sports of men's basketball and football get into college, even when they lack the "academic skills necessary to compete in the classroom... For all the talk about SAT fraud involving players who get others to take scores for them, the greater form of manipulation might be in the area of core classes, in which bogus grades are given to high school athletes in order to get them qualified for NCAA competition. ESPN's report focused on one tiny school in the Queens area of New York City where, it turns out, dozens of future college athletes have gone to get their NCAA eligibility. The school, Christopher Robin Academy, does not have any sports teams but virtually ever academically troubled basketball player in New York City in the past decade -- from former North Carolina star Ed Cota to current NBA player Lamar Odom -- has used this school as a backdoor route to college basketball. There's the regular high school they attend during the week, the one they win prep championships for... then there's Christopher Robin, which they quietly attend on Saturdays or during the summer to pick up valuable core-class credits with little or no work. ESPN exposed this scam and also showed that the for-profit, unaccredited school lies to the public about its credentials... And here's the best part: the NCAA has no problem with the situation. Fearful of lawsuits alleging that the NCAA has no right to pass judgment on the educational standards of any high school, the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse continues to accept credits and grades from Christopher Robin Academy."
  • When Teachers Are Cheaters

    An alarming number of teachers and principals face charges of fixing the numbers on high-stakes tests that determine everything from whether an individual child gets promoted to an entire district's annual budget. State officials agree that the problem has worsened recently as more states have adopted testing as a way to audit national and state educational standards.
  • From Worst to First

    "It wasn't a big surprise when Fessenden Elementary earned an F under Florida's grading system. In just a year, though, the rural Ocala school made a dramatic leap to an A for its test scores. Now, the question is whether students can score top grades again." Education Week reports on the efforts of teachers, students and parents to uphold the high educational standards this school has achieved despite the obstacles encountered along the way.
  • Educating Brenda

    Philadelphia profiles a 17-year-old student, Brenda Gergely, "who is determined to make it out" of school and go to college. The story looks at how an educational program for children for low-income families, the White-Williams Scholars, has motivated the student to get better grades and has inflamed her ambition to continue her education. The report exposes the low educational standards of many high schools as a possible barrier to students' way to college.